Are We Third Wave Feminists?

Standard

This past weekend the Women and Gender Resource Action Center took a trip to vegetarian, feminist restaurant Bloodroot in Bridgeport, CT. There was a lot to celebrate in a space like this- great breakfast food, vegan coconut creamer, bra-less chefs, and a simple elegant decor that felt like home. Our group sat down to a wonderful brunch to celebrate the end of a great semester at Trinity College and the owners of this unique eatery joined our conversation on what it means to be a feminist.

One of the owners, Selma Miriam, came over to discuss her recent trip to Trinity College to talk about the founding principles of Bloodroot Restaurant. She expressed that enjoyed her time at Trinity, but she was disappointed with the lack of argument and confrontation of ideas that were generated by the conversation. A small debate entailed at the table while everyone was finishing their tofu scrambles and SOYsage and this conversation revealed some pretty interesting differences within the ideologies of women-conscious members of our generation and women of second wave feminism.

The conversation started over high heels. Selma was suspicious of high heels because they are popular and the prevent women from running away if they need to. Not to mention, women’s feet are injured from wearing high heels and this is something that can have a serious impact on a woman’s life. On the other hand, the girls and boys that filled our college table seemed to support a woman or man’s choice to wear high heels as an expression of self. Although none of the girls seated at our table were rocking sky high heels, our group seemed to feel that limiting one’s choices was not the name of the type of feminism that we feel comfortable advocating.

In the 1990’s a change came about in the feminist movement as women became frustrated with the androgynous, analytical, judgmental nature of second wave feminism. This ushered in a new style, a third-wave, that celebrated women’s choice and women’s sexuality and promoted a “girlie culture”. Magazines and pop culture that celebrated femininity and looked at womanhood in a new way became anthems for this movement. It seemed like the conversation that took place at Bloodroot on Sunday was a perfect example of the conflicting ideologies of second wave and third wave feminists.

Having a conversation with a second-wave feminist did shed some light on the incongruities of our ideas on feminism. As conscious women of our generation, I think that some of our understandings of feminism need to be challenged. It seems that we are in support of choice and we are constantly working to defend women’s choice. However, what happens when our choices align with what society expects a woman to be? I hear the desire to put on high heels and rock your sexuality because it is fun to do so. BUT- who has defined this as sexy? We are making the choices- but who is providing the options? I think that Selma had some good points about questioning what is “in-style” and following fads. This is not conscious consuming because we are giving money to those that do not have women’s best interest at heart. I am calling for a new conscious consumer in our generation. One that loves the power to make a choice in their life, however, one that makes a conscious choice and an aware choice of how they are spending their money and where their money is going to.

I think that the conversation of second wave feminism and third wave feminism needs to continue. Although there are elements of the second wave that feel outdated and judgmental, there were reasons why women took such a strong stance and got so rigid in their views. Times are different, however, if women are apathetic to the choices we make then we risk falling into a time that is scarier than one where our choices are made for us. It would be a time where we are consenting to the way that society has wanted us to look, work, act, and speak. A time when we are making that choice ourselves because we are making our choices within the means of the options handed to us. I don’t want to see this generation make “false” conscious choices. Let’s talk about this. Think outside the box, we always have the opportunity to reinvent our feminism.

Peace and Love,

Martha

We Heard the Voices Last Night

Standard

If you missed Voices Raised in Power last night, you missed a beautiful event. The FRED was filled with Trinity students that came out to show support and solidarity for survivors of sexual assault. Mid Schulman ’14 and Mary Taliaferro ’13 were the main organizers of the event and Omari Roberts ’15 did a great job as emcee. This event put on such a great series of performances and also offered a strong message for those in the audience. Mia and Mary are looking to start a Male Ambassadors program at Trinity and last night was a call to students to get involved. This program will look to define the term consent, eliminate the bystander effect, and help stop the 5 cases of reported sexual assault that occur on our campus each semester. (Keep in mind that 80% of cases are not reported). Emory University has successfully created a program like this and the link below is the video that this group created to combat sexual violence. Trinity should get inspired to make a program like this!

Project Unspoken

The performances last night celebrated the strength of individuals that are surviving sexual assault.  The Trinitones, The Dischords, The Quirks, and The Accidentals performed wonderful renditions of inspiring songs. Each group commented on the meaningfulness of performing at an event like this. Students like Myles Bristow ’14 and Ana Medina ’16 captivated the crowd with heartfelt poetry. Myles had it right last night when he said, “tonight is not about sadness. It is about strength.” There is nothing more empowering than seeing Trinity students use their talents for such a good cause.

The impressive turn out last night shows us that Trinity College is ready to act out and make a difference. We can no longer let sexual assault have a home on our campus. However, listening to voices for one night is not enough. The performances are meant to inspire change and energize students to take action. Mia and Mary challenged this campus to work together to make sure that sexual assault is no longer a woman’s issue. This is everyone’s issue.

Peace and Love,

Martha

Voices Raised in Power!

Standard

VOICES RAISED IN POWER is this THURSDAY at THE FRED!

Come join us for a night of student performance in celebration of surviving and thriving after sexual violence. All are welcome! T-Shirts: first come first served!

 The details are as follows:

THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 29, 8PM, THE FRED

Featuring: The Quirks, The Trinitones, Poetry, Dance, Readings, and more!

 Image

There will also be a Sweats Drive! Needed: Sweat pants, t-shirts, hoodies

During their initial emergency room visit, sexual assault victims often surrender their clothing as evidence. SACS – the rape crisis center serving Trinity – provides emergency clothing. Clean out your closet and support a good cause!

 

For more info please contact: Mia.Schulman@trincoll.edu; Mary.Taliaferro@trincoll.edu

I HOPE TO SEE YOU ALL THERE! 

Peace and Love,

Martha

 

 

 

Dear Suzanne Venker

Standard

Dear Suzanne Venker,

I am highly offended by your call to women to “turn everything around” and “surrender to their nature- their femininity” to make sure that marriageable men stay in our society. If men do not want to marry the type of strong, independent woman that modern culture develops then I am not interested in getting married. Women have played a role in changing American culture. In fact, they have played a LARGE role in changing and shaping American culture. Lots of women have been open to changing their identity now that they are not only wives and mothers but they are also contributing to the workforce. Maybe men have not opened their mind up to the different roles that they can play in society. People evolve and culture evolves with them and going backwards is not the answer. The feminist movement was a distinct call to address an unhappiness and an oppression of women. The answer is not to go back to this mold, but to challenge ourselves to adapt to a modern society.

I hope that you know that the message of your article tells women to stop going to school and working and you will get a husband. Maybe you should follow your own advice and stop writing for the public eye to see. That way you can live in a “happy marriage” and no one else with have to be infected with your archaic thoughts on gender roles. I do not think men are the enemy. If you do not want to marry a modern women then that will be to your own detriment. Maybe, Suzanne, these men do not want to get married because women are finally having a say in the quality of man they want to end up with. Women have the power to be alone rather than settle for something that does not feel right. Women have rights without having a husband. Perhaps these men are acting out against marriage because they have been rejected by a modern day woman that has not been wiling to settle for a man that thinks in the past. A man’s hurt pride is no reason to surrender what women have fought for. Please do not challenge American culture to move backwards. This is a waste of time. Challenge everyone to evolve and adapt and find new sources of pride. Really, Suzanne, are you kidding me?

Here is a link to the original article from FOX news.

http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2012/11/24/war-on-men/

Peace and Love,

Martha

A Note About Social Change

Standard
This is the time for the women’s center at Trinity to really take a stand about social change on this campus. I know that as a group we have our reservations about the new organization of Trinity, however, I do believe that as a collective group we are on board with the fact that Greek Life IS NOT and SHOULD NOT be the only voice that is heard at Trinity. This is a note from one of our most active members of the Women’s Center… I would like this to be a call to action. Please comment below and start a conversation.
The Trustee’s Report came out three weeks ago creating a huge surge in community involvement and activism, as is typical when the administration makes steps towards changing the party/drinking culture at Trinity. However, in the last week the Trinity community has seemed to go back to its normal state of apathy. Time heals all wounds and, at least on the surface, the students have calmed down and are waiting to see just how these changes to Fraternities will affect their personal lives. This snapshot is extremely different from how the atmosphere at Trinity was two weeks ago, in the midst of forums and meetings and angry discussions about Trinity taking away the integral aspect of students’ social lives. I attended a few minutes of one of the student forums and witnessed, first hand, how downright angry all the speakers were. If you want to get a reaction out of Trinity students, don’t talk about politics, or war, or rape happening on campus, suggest that Fraternities should be co-ed.
I somewhat expected the scene I saw at the student forum, sisters and brothers pointing out various issues this brings up, some more legitimate than others. I understood that the Kappa Kappa Gamma Sisters were upset that their “women’s space” was being infringed upon and that their national charter would be taken away. Others were not so convincing, like a Pike brother pointing out how stupid the trustees and charter committee were to jeopardize the future of the school now that frat brothers won’t donate to the school. I saw all this coming.
What surprised me came 3 days later on Saturday when I went to the Alumni forum. I was surprised to see an equally packed room, filled to the brim and out the door with angry men and women, booing and cheering in waves depending on the comments made by their peers. I was shocked when I heard a graduated brother of the Hall ask for President Jones to resign and even more stunned when one cited Chris Kenny’s rally last Spring as an example of the Trinity community rallying together for something that mattered to everyone. I’m not going to go into all the Chris Kenny speculations and rumors, but I think it is fair to say that that wasn’t something everyone on campus felt a personal connection to and I do not think it should, by any means, be what Trinity students care about when there are sexual assaults happening every weekend, racist comments made in classes and students transferring left and right because there is something about Trinity that makes them want to get out, fast.
This last comment pushed me off the edge and I had to leave the forum. I was so mad, I walked around the LSC Quad twice to calm myself, since I didn’t just want to go to my room to fume there. The thing that made me so mad was that the Trinity College that I go to was not present in that room. I hardly saw any of my friends, or friends of friends. Trinity is divided, some people deeply care about Fraternity culture and want to ‘protect it’, whatever that may mean. Others have different things that motivate them, that take up their time, all the time, not just when the administration makes an announcement about social life at Trinity. There is obviously gray area, brothers and sisters who commit time and energy into community service, and people that aren’t involved in greek life, but still do little extra-curricular work.
In any case, my Trinity was not in the Washington Room that morning, talking to the Trustees and the Charter Committee. We weren’t yelling and clapping and booing expressing our sentiments about what should change at Trinity. I don’t even know whether or not I fully support the new report, but I feel my voice and my friends and allies on campus are not being heard. I know there are serious qualms to be had, unintentional oversights that hurt student organizations that help the social atmosphere. My worry is that those concerns are not being vocalized, or heard, or addressed and that Trinity will continue to change without listening to the student leaders on campus that try to improve life at Trinity every day, little by little, one moderately attended event at a time.
-Mia Schulman

Rape and Disability- TAKE ACTION!

Standard

We are living in a good time for women right now. With the election that just passed, women have been able to secure that our rights are respected by the country that we live in. We have rights to birth control and the ability to make our own decisions about our bodies. It has been wonderful to see so many women take office this election and make sure that our voice is being heard by those that lead this country.

When i hear about moments of sexual abuse that happen all over the world, it troubles me deeply. Although we are in the wake of a great election for social liberties in America, there are still so many world-wide issues and struggles that our sisters are facing. One of the most hard and awful realities is that disabled women around the world are subjugated to physical and emotional abuse. I feel a responsibility to raise awareness and consciousness surrounding these issues. Post this letter once you have clicked the link to take action against this kind of abuse in Uganda. Rape of disabled women happens all over the world… even in America. Let’s protect the vulnerable. Take Action!

Hello,

I just took action on a campaign undertaken by Equality Now calling on the Government of Uganda to properly investigate and prosecute cases of sexual violence against the disabled, on behalf of a Ugandan girl, Sanyu, who was raped and became pregnant as a result. Sexual violence is widespread in Uganda and disabled women and girls are particularly vulnerable; however, the government does not take additional steps to facilitate justice for disabled victims of sexual violence by making provisions for investigative techniques that would promptly facilitate the process, leading to further victimization.

Please join this campaign and call on the Government of Uganda to ensure that the remaining suspect in Sanyu’s now five year old case is immediately arrested and DNA testing is conducted on him, at government’s expense, without delay. Also  call on them to ensure that all relevant investigative techniques, including DNA testing, are promptly carried out in cases of sexual violence, and in particular in cases where the victim is disabled. Thank you for your support.

Please join me and take action here:
http://org2.democracyinaction.org/o/6208/p/dia/action/public/?action_KEY=12101

Learn more about the campaign here:

http://www.equalitynow.org/take_action/adolescent_girls_action461